Nine Things I Learned in My Nine Years of Marriage

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550787_428256547223315_1308159764_nThis April, I celebrated nine years married to an incredible person. This time I’m finally getting it right. As that statement suggests, it’s not my first trip to matrimony. Like many humans, I have to do something a couple of times before I get it right. That made me wonder what I (we) did differently, what I learned to make this relationship so solid, since I know is this one is right and it’s really strong.

After thinking on it for awhile, I came up with the nine things I’ve learned in the nine years of my marriage. For those that know my listmania obsession, won’t be surprised in the format. I’m sure those who have many more years of successful partnerships might think me bold in my pipsqueak nine years. I’m sure you do. But, I figured sharing is a way to help those, who like me before this relationship, are looking for the security code to happy matrimony. Please, also, don’t think this has all been a fairy tale for us. Some of these lessons were very hard to learn. We came to one another late in life, both having children from former relationships, dealing with exes, accepting our own truths, blending a family together, trying to mesh two-careers together, moving across the country together, job loss and shifts, learning our son had Autism, and all the perils of growing older. Regardless of the problems we faced, we faced them together and learned what the foundational things to a healthy relationship were/are.


  1. Start with the right person. And that right person is actually you, first and foremost. If you don’t know who you are, don’t love yourself, don’t care for yourself, a relationship will always be a struggle. I spent too many years trying to please everyone and live my life for someone else. It encompassed so many aspects of my life. It made me vulnerable to relationships with people who were narcissistic and downright sociopathic. Once I realized that my own self doubt, and moments of loathing were making me a target for bad relationships, it was easy to begin a regiment of self-care, love, and respect. Seriously, if you don’t treat yourself with respect, how do you expect others to do so? Once you have self-love and care and respect down the right person as a partner is going to show up.
  2. Be and Let Be. One of the recurring themes in the relationship my spouse and I have noted is that we allow each other to be. I don’t try to change him. He doesn’t try to change me. We celebrate the people we are. Do we have challenges? Weaknesses? Yes. We’ve found that one’s weakness is another’s strengths often. He’ll readily admit he doesn’t like cooking – partially because the planning and timing of such is foreign to him. I like to cook and relish the puzzle of timing and planning a meal. Mathematics is like a thorn in my side. He has an applied mathematics degree. My kids got their math skill from him, clearly. I’m very list orientated. He is very spontaneous. Together we have a good balance of getting business done while having fun. I think in a collage; he thinks linearly. Depending on the problem we need to solve, we get the job done together. We both can be pretty hot-tempered, but over different things. When he’s fuming, I’m a sea of calm; when I’m a screaming banshee; he is a soothing salve.
  3. Remember Your Manners. Politeness is not just for strangers. Using your manners and being polite as possible goes a long way in the life of a relationship. It goes beyond saying please and thank you, too. Holding doors open for one another, picking up each other’s plate from the dinner table, or just simply keeping our less-than-desirable bodily functions from the other person. I know that made you giggle. But, it’s true. Not farting in one another’s general direction is a good thing in a relationship. We’re human, however, so not all bodily functions will be hidden away in the lavatory. You share a life, a bed, a home together. One of you will get a rash and feel all gross. A good partner will be polite about it and wish it clears up very fast. Manners help make it easy to love one another at our weakest and worst.383300_2817134349824_308952749_n
  4. Be Your Honest Self. If you’re doing anything that is not true to yourself just in order to be accepted by a partner (or anyone for that matter), the relationship will not last. The other person in the relationship will come to expect that is actually who you are, what you like, how you’ll be, etc. It’s false. Any relationship built on false pretenses is doomed. None of us can keep up an act our entire life. Both people deserve better. Honesty also leads to more intimacy. Intimacy builds a stronger relationship.
  5. Fall and Rise Together. Many vows say for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. You will share all of that in a marriage. Certainly my partner and I did. He’s watched me go from a fairly svelte figure that could kick the Army’s PFT’s bootie, to laying waste in pain with spinal injury and becoming nearly deaf. I’ve stood by his side when he broke his ribs in a motorcycle accident, and hobbled himself in a work-related karate kicking contest. We’ve been “need to go to the food bank” poor and paying our bills fairly easily (we’re still waiting together on the richer part). Regardless of the extremes that life can throw at you, you need to share in them together. One time you’ll need to be the stronger partner, the other time, it will be you that has fallen down and being picked up by your spouse. Additionally, falling and rising together is a simple way to remember to go to bed and get up together. Will there be times that life precludes this? Yes. But, wanting to be by your partner’s side as the last thing that happens at the end of the day and the first that happens at the start of the day, builds for a good foundation. It allows uninterrupted conversation and staying connected. The more you do this, the stronger your bond.
  6. Share. With modern technology sharing parts of your day is fairly simple, even though work lives often keep us apart for 10 hours or more. I’ll send my partner a picture of our dog being silly. He’ll snap a photo of an interesting thing he saw on the ground at the bus stop. It also means we share our frustrations and challenges. The whole reason many of us marry is to have someone to build and share a life together. Early in my adult life I did a lot of traveling alone. I saw some incredible things, but didn’t have someone to really share it with – sure there were travel groups I was included in, but that’s not the same. Sharing is building memories. I sometimes believe that good memories make for a good footing for a great future, too. Sharing also encompasses interests. There has to be a couple of shared interests. Sometimes that’s just keeping your sanity in a house full of teenagers. But it could be making and checking off things off a bucket list, a shared hobby, or beating the drums of support for your favorite cause. Oh, and sex, too. Sex should be a part of the sharing. As often as possible, for sure, is key. At first I wasn’t even going to address that part of “sharing” as it seemed obvious to me. But, then I thought back on relationships that weren’t so successful. The old adage of couples that play together stay together is very true.219400_10200125793489912_1605308623_o
  7. Listen. Be willing to hear about your spouse’s day, the crazy driver that cut them off in traffic, or the unexpected treasure they found at the grocery store – whatever. Know that sometimes they just need an ear and not a problem solver. If you’re listening you’ll know when it is they need help with a problem. Listen to them laugh. Listen to them cry. Know when they are becoming frustrated, or are elated. If you listen, you’ll grow to know them well. Knowing them well creates an environment of strong trust, because you can approach challenges with love more easily. When you can trust one another implicitly, that is an equation for happiness.
  8. Be Forgiving Friends. Often times you have to put the romance away and just be a buddy to your spouse. Being friends first – being there even when they are grumpy or playful. Be their soux chef, their carpentry assistant, their masseuse, their event planner, their coffee chum, whatever they might need from you that you can provide. Also, friends forgive each other pretty easily. Forgive one another your faults and encourage, as you would a friend, them to be their best, as you also strive to do. I find I can’t stay mad at my partner for long, because he’s my best friend. Be aware, however, you may find that being excellent friends also leads to some intense romantic times, too.
  9. Respect. At the core of all that I’ve learned about a healthy relationship, a strong relationship, is that respect is the greatest thing in life that as a human being we can give to ourselves, others, and our community. As well, it’s been a guiding principle in how we teach our children:  The 3 R’s: Respect yourself, respect others, and respect your community. If you do those things you’re covered. Respect and love are not mutually exclusive. I don’t think you can love someone and not respect them. It’s something other than love then, darlings. When I slip up, or my partner slips up, it’s because we’ve forgotten this golden rule. Hey, we’re human. When that happens, go back to being that forgiving friend and everyone gets another shot at being respectful again.194044_10201670071135888_568953186_o


Nine years really flew by. I’m hoping we can take these nine things and make the next nine years just as incredibly happy as these have been. Happy Anniversary, Tiger.

What things have you learned about in your relationships? What would you share with others?


Crying Foul at the Hugos and the Potential Alienation of What May Keep It Strong

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download (2)I’m going to put on my ranty pants here. You’re welcome to stay and enjoy the ranty show, or head on down the information highway.

A little background before I start ranting, questioning, and basically trying to wrap my head around this whole political farce in the art world called the Hugos. I know I’m a bit behind the power curve, as they say, about this issue, but I was busy writing this weekend (I’m in a writing class right now) and, you know, living my life away from the computer from time to time.

A fellow writer friend and his wife, both huge fans of science fiction (and fantasy) much like me, talked me into going to Sasquan this year. It was likely the closest opportunity to participating in the World Science Fiction Convention any of us would have. I’ve made it known often that Science Fiction writers like P.K. Dick and William Gibson were some of my earliest influences on the speculative fiction that I write. Being a part of WorldCon (its umbrella name) wasn’t to be missed. Bonus? I got to nominate for the illustrious Hugo Awards. Nice!


Right before the voting closed, I posted that I had some holes in my nominations ballot — mostly in Graphic Novels and Editors. I am very aware of the who’s who in SF editing, but I was not feeling ‘just’ in my nominations and was looking for outsiders to validate or make me reexamine my knee-jerk thoughts. This year I’ve been re-reading many of my favorites from my formative years and hadn’t explored many of the current inventory of Graphic Novels. I also posted in a couple of writing forums very early on if people had suggestions for works I “shouldn’t forget” to send them my way for consideration. There’s so much work out there. No one person can read it all. But, I did want to move forward with what I thought was deserving, especially if it widened the SF community to a more diverse representations of work.

People did send me suggestions. I read (okay, I devoured) many of them. Some of them made my personal nominations ballot, because I was like “Damn! This is way better than I was thinking,” but, also, there’s five nominations slots. I had lots of holes. I didn’t always nominate all five available, either. Just those I thought deserving.

download (3)I don’t necessarily consider myself a SJW, that pejorative Social Justice Warrior label that those who are okay in an oppressed world serve as something bad, especially when it comes to my media. But, this whole Sad Puppies bullshit (read the link, I’m not going to explain it here, thanks) makes me out to be one. Fine, you say SJW like it’s a bad thing. If seeking out literature from across the globe (nay universe) isn’t foundational to the whole science fiction world, I think I’ve interpreted everything wrong. I’m not sure how many others who voted had the kind of angle I did — looking at work not necessarily found on the shelves at Walmart or Walgreens. I hope I’m not the only one.

Of the people I nominated, how many were included in the final short-list for everyone to vote on? Two. Just Two. Both in the Semiprozine category. None of what I nominated made it. Really? You can’t tell me that none of VanderMeer’s Southern Reach books made the cut? That The Three-Body Problem wasn’t on the ballot. UGH. The force with Sad Puppies was strong. Are there still deserving people on that final ballot that I will vote for? Yes. My ballot MAY look suspiciously like one suggested here.

As I’m personally examining the issue, I keep coming back to the thought about what would I do if my work might be the subject of such controversy. If one of the short-list noms happens to be a person who was voted in the Sad Puppies slate, but wasn’t necessarily a proponent of it, would you stay or go? Some folks have chose to not accept the nomination. I can’t say I blame them. But, a Hugo award does wonders for people to find your work, for other editors and publishers to take note of what you’re doing as a writer and artist. It would be a tough call.

oh-you-read-enders-game-tell-me-how-much-you-love-science-fictioThe call would have to be if there is such a political agenda to the Sad Puppies slate. Many have suggested it’s the old patriarchal guard doing its thing (one such nominee was published by Patriarchy Press, and there’s the seeming Orson Scott Card supporter nominee, too). Others have written, including those involved within the SP, that much of what they wrote to support their campaign for one particular slate was crying out against diversity That people, such as myself, that seek out such different voices, which includes world literature, are ruining science fiction fandom. To Brad and Larry, I would say, I believe I make it a more interesting fandom. Insert what they say about opinions adage here.

Some folks have determined other ways of dealing with this, basically take the voting fraud of Sad Puppies and make it void. If WorldCon did something like that, which I highly doubt they will, would it mean the end to the Hugos? I don’t know.

I just can’t wrap my head around it. I think of myself as the average Speculative Fiction Reader. Where I’m not a typical reader is that if you put a small press book on a table next to a big press book and ask me to choose, I’m likely going to pick up the small press book. Additionally, many of the books in my library are author-published titles. I’m not prejudicial to how something is published, is my point. When the Sad Puppies campaign first hit the internet, I was thinking they had opinions and ideas about who should be on the ballot, much like I did, and I couldn’t fault them. But, then an uglier truth became apparent.

Tony Stark readingClearly it doesn’t matter thanks to the folks giving dogs a bad name everywhere. For a newbie to this whole thing, I’ve a bad taste in my mouth. This may be my last year as a WorldCon member (although I get to vote next year as a Hugo nominations qualifying member) or an attendee at the conference. I don’t know. My experience in August and what happens with the final award presentation may determine such a decision by me. There are some that are saying that my participation in this is a potential reason as to why the whole Sad Puppies 3 campaign was created, or that my participation and others like me is what will ‘save the Hugos.’

To all of this, I’m still processing and compiling. I’m not sure what my vested interest in this is. Do I think speculative fiction is important? Yes, I do. Do I think the Hugos help to bring great spec fiction to the focus of the constant rapid change or media consumers? Yes, I do.  Do I consider myself part of the speculative fictions, including science fiction, community? Yes, I do. I may not be a Scalzi or a Hines or even Gibson. Hell, I’m not even at the Jim Butcher level. But, whatever. I’ve been a longtime reader and this is what I write. It should be important.

Now there is the availability to vote a “No Award.” Will I do that? I don’t know. Most of what made the short list, I’ll have to investigate, although a cursory glance has already given me a healthy dose of side-eye. The fact that the final slate has people I haven’t heard of is not scary, but suspect. I’m keeping an open mind, as one is wont to do in Science Fiction especially. Has there always been that segment of the SciFi world that is close-minded and not ready for change? Sure. Every group has that minority. I’m not going to let their existence be the end all be all. In fact, there’s a part of my thought process that believes voters like me — just like the swing vote on Survivor, will be the ones that turn this whole thing around. I also will give some good attention to making sure the nominations I gave to The Hugos are counted in the Locus Awards.

Almost-Human-image-almost-human-36082367-700-700I think much like one of the authors I nominated as a Campbell contender said, much of this Sad Puppy Think of the Children blustering, will just fade away and the Hugos will continue to keep people like me, who are searching the nooks and crannies for good stuff. That much like Elizabeth Bear wrote, fandom will continue and will likely survive, as it has in the fires of other assaults. My hope is that the Hugos community comes on the other end of this as a smarter and better true anarchy.

I’m going to take off my ranty pants here. As you look away (or stare if you like — I was in the Army and have children, I’ve no modesty any more) you can check out what my ballot looked like in the end:

Your nominations for Best Novel:

Southern Reach Trilogy Jeff VandeMeer FSG Originals
Maplecroft Cherie Priest Penguin
The Bees Laline Paul Harper Collins
The Three-Body Problem Cixin Liu Macmillian
The Peripheral William Gibson G.P. Putnam Sons

Your nominations for Best Novella:

The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howeard Subterranean Press
Where the Trains Turn  Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Dream Houses  by Genevieve Valentine  WSFA Press
The Beauty  Aliya Whiteley  Unsung Stories

Your nominations for Best Novelette:

From the Nothing, With Love Phantasm Japan Project Itoh
Written on the Hides of Foxes Alex Dally MacFarlane Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The End of the World in Five Dates Claire Humphrey Apex

Your nominations for Best Short Story:

This Chance Planet Elizabeth Bear
Cimmeria: From the Journal of Imaginary Anthropology Theodora Goss  Lightspeed
Childfinder Octavia E. Butler  Unexpected Stories
Sarah’s Child Susan Jane Bigelow Strange Horizons
Lucky Strike Kim Stanley Robinson Strange Horizons

Your nominations for Best Related Work:

Special Needs in Strange Worlds  Sarah Chorn SF Signal
IFLScience Contributors
The Secret History Of Wonder Woman  Jill Lepore

Your nominations for Best Graphic Story:

Aama  Frederik Peeters SelfMadeHero
Ant Colony Michael DeForge Drawn and Quarterly
Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel Anya Ulinich Penguin Group

Your nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

Autómata Gabe Ibáñez Green Moon
Appleseed Alpha Shinji Aramaki Sony Pictures
The Quiet Hour  Stéphanie Joalland Frenzy Films
Flashes Amir Valinia AV1
Snowpiercer  Bong Joon-ho Opus Pictures

Almost-Human-586x310Your nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

Unbound  J.H. Wyman Almost Human
Arrhythmia J.H. Wyman Almost Human
Long Into The Abyss Antonio Negret The 100
274 Cameron Porsandeh Helix
Boy Parts  Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy American Horror Story:  Coven

Your nominations for Best Professional Editor (Short Form):

Julia Rios
Alisa Krasnostein
William Schafer

Your nominations for Best Professional Editor (Long Form):

Amanda Rutter
Ann VanderMeer

Your nominations for Best Professional Artist:

Abigail Larson
Kekai Kotaki
Kentaro Kanamoto
Yuku Shimizu

Your nominations for Best Semiprozine:

Strange Horizons Niall Harrison
Lightspeed John Joseph Adams

Your nominations for Best Fanzine:

Bookworm Blues Sarah Chorn
People of Color in European Art History

Your nominations for Best Fancast:
No nominations. I for the life of me could not figure out what qualified for this, and honestly, I think this should be separated into pro-podcast and amateur podcast. 

Your nominations for Best Fan Writer:

Liz Bourke Sleeps with Monster –
Sarah Mesle Breakers of Chains review
Genevieve Valentine  Strange Horizons

Your nominations for Best Fan Artist:

Finnian MacManus
Jane Patterson

Your nominations for The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo):

Usman Malik Resurrection Points
Alyssa Wong Scarecrow –

download (1)

Free-Range Fiction: I’ll Take Monday

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If you’re here, you’re here because you are linking back from Chuck Wendig’s site and his Flash Fiction Challenge as of Feb. 6, 2015, The Four-Part Story (Part I). Okay, you might be here because you read my blog regularly. If so, thank you and keep checking back for the progress of this challenge, as it will not be complete for a few weeks. 

My “entry” for this challenge is a piece I started so long ago. I’m famous for starting stuff that pops in my head and then abandoning it. Rather, life makes me abandon it. This challenge was perfect for me to bring it out and dust it off again.  It was only two paragraphs when I first opened it up. The rest of the words were started today. Herr Wendig gave us 1,000 words for the first part. This is creeping in at 858. I wanted to give folks some wiggle room for the middle. I always need more words in the middle. At any rate, really curious to see where another writer is going to take this. 

By the way, whomever picks this up to go for part II, I can very much share this with you in google docs if you prefer. Super simple. Ahh, modern technology makes being a writer so much easier. Because, you know, it’s not hard at all. 

In all seriousness….Read Word Nerds:

I’ll Take Monday

Thursday was out to get me. Most people hate Mondays and call it their worst day of the week. However, mine was always Thursday. This Thursday was already a beast and it wasn’t even 6:45 a.m. My neighbor woke me with his bag pipe playing. When I yelled at him, he apologized and said the mused has attacked him and he couldn’t resist. I would mind being awoken by the sounds of two geese committing Hari-kiri much less, truly, if he could play something other than Brian Boru March and actually played it well. But badly was my neighbor’s playing style.

He continued to play even though I yelled at him. I tried to pretend it was a soundtrack for my shower. Not very sexy or invigorating.

Looking in the bathroom mirror, I found a pimple in the middle of my forehead. Strange desires to take my razor and shave off the zit hit me. I honestly couldn’t stop myself. Blood ran everywhere. The hand towel looks like it was tie-dyed in blood. Not attractive in the least. Eventually I got it to stop bleeding and put one of those stupid-looking circle bandages over where a simple blemish had been. At that point I was late to catch the bus to work. I needed coffee and shoes. I dashed to grab a travel tumbler of coffee and felt my stocking feet ooze into something wet and sticky. I looked down. Cat puke.  I love Mr. Waffle, but he truly is a cocksucker sometimes.

Ten minutes later, I was finally out the door. At the bus stop, I was alone. The next bus didn’t arrive for another fifteen minutes or so. However, I felt like I was safer leaving the house than staying. I was deep into a puzzle app on my phone when I smelled something foul. I looked up and a few feet away stood a woman. She was just barely a senior citizen, I reckoned. She didn’t look at me, but only at the zit on my forehead, or rather the bandage that covered it up. I hoped she wouldn’t’ ask me about it. The fact that she hadn’t showered in quite some time was assaulting my nose. I tried to covertly stick my nose deep into my shirt. This, I remember, is why Europeans where scarves all the time. I put my phone away and tried to make a mental note of everything I had to get done at work that day.  Ugh. I still hadn’t gotten in my weekly report to my supervisor and she was going to be all over my ass as soon as I walked in the door.

The bus arrived and I took to my normal seat, although because I’d  missed the earlier bus, this bus was less crowded. The seating options were plentiful. But, I’m a creature of habit – about a third of the way back in the bus on the right-hand side, against the window. The stinky lady took her sweet time getting on the bus and then scanned around. She took a moment longer to look at the seat next to me. Shit. I put my bag on the aisle seat that was vacant. It didn’t work. Stinky lady sat down right next to me. She’d nearly sat on my bag, but I ninja’d it back into my lap before her noxious gas was on my bag, too. There were more than a dozen other seats she could have sat in. I would have gotten off at the next stop if I wasn’t already late for work, so I had to ride all the way into downtown, nearly gagging all the way there.

In the elevator at work people looked at me funny, and when the mailroom guy, Toby, got on at one of the stops towards my floor, he flat out told me, “Killian, You stink!” I stammered about a hobo lady sitting next to me on the bus, but nobody listened.

This is why so many people keep a spare set of clothes at the office.

At my desk I sprayed air freshener hoping it would eat the stink fumes I’d inherited on the bus. I made the guy in the cubicle next to me cough.

“Sorry,” I meekly offered.

The message light on my phone was blinking. It made me feel annoyed. First message was from my boss:  weekly reports. I deleted it. Second message was from my friend, Frannie. “Killian, you have to call me right now, it’s an emergency!” Her last emergency was trying to decide between a Main Coon or a Scottish Fold cat.

Frannie’s likely non-emergency or my boss?

I let my computer warm up and just sat there a moment. Just being. Doing nothing.

When I could justify no more “downtime,” regardless of Bag Pipe Alarm Clock, I opened my email.

My mother had sent me an email and the subject line read YOU NEED TO CALL ME RIGHT AWAY. My mother still did not understand that all caps meant you were yelling.

Boss, Frannie, or Mom?

Then I opened up the spreadsheet to populate the report.

I was just about to export the data and the phone rang.

(Here’s the rest of the tale: written by electrcrngr and ToniJ).



Inkster Dispatch:  She’s a hot mess, but there’s still good news

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I have just spent the last 30 minutes searching for a notebook where I had done an idea exercise. I generated about 50 ideas for my blog to tackle this year.

Can I find said notebook?

Nope. I tore apart all the usual places and then some. I can’t find the notebook anywhere. This is another example of how I’ve been loath to completely organize my write life electronically.  But in this instance, I have no excuses. Real life experience is smacking me in the face and saying, “Wake Up, Inkster! The digital age requires your presence.”

My hesitancy is obviously control. But when I think about spending 30 minutes searching for a notebook, can I really say I am in control? Not even.

Therefore, from now on there will be an idea folder in my hard drive, on the back-up thumb drive, and hoisted up on Google Drive.

Speaking of Google Drive, I’m anxiously awaiting the next email from a publisher who accepted my first serious essay. This email will hold a link to a shared Google Drive box for some editorial improvement. More evidence that electronic organization is industry standard anymore and I’ve got to stop being so lazy. Oh, wait. Yeah. I got a piece accepted. The ink is not dry on the contract, so I can’t give any details away, except that I got a really serious essay accepted.

//Happy Dance//

With increased traffic in my write-life, I need to stay organized. I’m getting the message loud and clear. However, it does make me nervous. To have all my ideas stuck in just an electronic file. So, maybe…

No. Don’t do it.

But, why not?


Why not have a notebook dedicated for my ideas? It can be stored in a file in my desk, clearly labeled “idea notebook,” and then transcribed to an electronic file and then backed up? There’s no reason, save my ability to be disciplined. There’s that word again. I talked a lot about that in my last blog post regarding my write life’s goals and plans for 2015. Yes, friends, organization saves you precious time and it only takes a moment’s effort more to do what needs to be done.

I once read that truly disciplined people are spotted by simply seeing how their shoes are organized.  If they are neat and dress-right-dress in their closet, they are organized. As always, there are always exceptions to the rule, like my friend in college, whose shoes were in clear boxes labeled and color coded, and very much dress-right-dress. But the rest of her place was disorganized and frequently downright messy.  I’m not that exception or the rule.  I kick off my shoes in the general direction of my closet. I didn’t used to be like that. I used to be dress-right-dress, both before and after I got out of the Army. But, once I embraced the artistic lifestyle, there are some things I felt were “unnecessary.” Do you know how long I took to find the mate to one of my shoes the other morning? Another 10 minutes that could have been spent in artistic pursuits. I can write 250 words in 10 minutes. Every minute is lost words.

So in order to be truly disciplined, I know I have to embrace total digital organization. I will, however, have a hard copy. You know, just in case the zombie apocalypse hits us and I’m holed up with nothing else to do but fill notebooks with stories.

Screw it. Just made a new idea notebook.
Screw it. Just made a new idea notebook.

Stay tuned for news about where that piece of mine will be published. Oh, by the way, I need to end this post with a shout out to Herr Chuck Wendig, who told me last year during a Goodreads conversation that I needed to just begin storing up stories – you know like a Penmonkey Prepper. His advice was dead on the bull’s-eye. The compounding of writing things and piling them up to send out is upping my numbers game. If things keep up this way, I’ll have something published each month this year.

It’s a numbers game, friends. Write. Revise. Polish. Send it Out. Rinse. Repeat. Oh, and stay organized.

Inkster Dispatch: Go Big & Kill Fear:  My writing goals for 2015

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Last year, 2014, will not go down in history as my best year in writing. Nor will it go down as my best year in reading. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I didn’t send out as much as I should. I didn’t review as much as I should.

I plan to remedy that in 2015. My grand design is that before I’m 50 there will be some upward movement on my publishing track record. I also would like to visit NYC for my 50th year birthday (November 2016), making a point of visiting publishing landmarks in the Big Apple. Therefore, I need to get a move on.

My To-Be-Read pile looks just like this. I promise to do better in 2015.
My To-Be-Read pile looks just like this. I promise to do better in 2015.

How? My snarky, internal editor asks, as does, some external, doubtful readers. Just how are you going to do that, Inkster?

The simplest plan is to go back to the basics. I need to write no less than five (count them: 5) days a week. That preferably should be Monday through Friday. But, I’m a mother, wife, community volunteer, and micro-farmer. Some days the appointments and chores take over my writing time. I need to put on some armor and guard that time. Like my daily work outs that began anew in my personal New Year beginning in November, I need to schedule the time and make sure that nothing interferes with that time. Additionally, the sooner in the day I get it over with, the better my chances of actually having done it. I may, again, need to rise at 0-dark-30 and do my writing time, followed by work-out time. Writing every day should have word count and I plan to get a bit obnoxious about posting such word counts on my social media feeds. This will serve to hold me accountable. I hope. No, it will. That’s why I’m telling all of you, because I know there are enough of you out there to tell me, “Hey, Inkster, get your write on!”

Writing Time must be scheduled and held sacred.
Writing Time must be scheduled and held sacred.

In addition to that schedule, I need to get back to my blog schedule, including my book reviews. It’s been out the window for so long. As the mother of a special-needs young adult, the amount of time I spend care-giving for him, taking him to appointments, dealing with doctors and social agencies, and just the time consumption that Autism Spectrum Disorder requires, it’s clear that writing time MUST be scheduled in. Yet I know my blog writing spurs on my fiction writing. Heck, even my freelance projects are more creative and on-time when I blog. Once a week posts are my goal. If I hit more posts, that’s total bonus.

These demanding responsibilities, on top of trying to be a good partner to my spouse — who blessedly supports me in my writing efforts — means my time for writing is limited. But, it is not impossible. In fact, it is possible and it just requires planning and restraint. After years of military order, I rebelled, or rather “relaxed,” and got away from the routine and discipline. But, I learned in 2014, such control is a good thing and lets me be productive in all areas of my life.

Time to get back into disciplined shape.
Time to get back into disciplined shape.

Planning is covered by just scheduling it in on my calendar like anything else and holding it sacred. The holding it sacred is where restraint comes in. Unless someone is bleeding, deathly ill, or the house is on fire, there is no appointment that absolutely must interfere with my writing. I have to armor that writing time and insist I be obedient to that scheduling.

More importantly, I’ll be stepping out in some new projects this year, which is where not only the Kill Fear part of that headline comes into play, but also the Go Big. These include teaching writing as healing to Veterans, as well as author-publishing a novel. Both of those efforts will require the above preparation and strictness. I’ll be blogging about my process with both of these, so please stay tuned here to learn more. I’m excited and a bit nervous about both, but kill your fear, darlings.

This does not mean that I can’t have fun and allow the creative process circle to do its thing.  My ETSY shop, Thrasher Studios, so neglected since my special-needs son was assaulted in late July —which has been a very slow healing process requiring even more care-giving time on my end — will be another outlet for me. Taking a break from EVERYTHING words, I learned in 2014, allows me a renewed energy towards my writing life.

I promise to do all of this with the shadow of forgiveness, as well. I will forgive myself if on any given day, I just don’t do it. The more I do it, the more productive I will be. One 500-words-only day may very well lend itself to a follow-on 3,000-word day. This I have learned in 2014, too.

Morning Pages fuel your creative life.
Morning Pages fuel your creative life.

I learned many of the things I did in 2014 by doing my Morning Pages, as prescribed in THE ARTIST’S WAY. It’s amazing the things you learn about yourself, your life, and your world – especially the writing world – by doing this daily journal exercise. I plan to continue the discipline of Morning Pages, too. Those that follow me on Livejournal (whiskeychick) know all about how crazy I get if I can’t journal regularly.

I write all this down so that I remember. So, that you remember. So, this reminds me; you remind me. I don’t forget and stay on track. Here’s to a more productive and successful 2015.

What are your writing goals this year? How do you plan to do them? Have something to brag about in your write-life? Do tell!

Happy Wonderful 2015 to all!